The rationale for Switzerland’s commitment

Switzerland’s tradition of humanitarian solidarity is enshrined in its constitution. Article 54 stipulates that Switzerland “shall in particular assist in the alleviation of need and poverty”. This commitment is also in its own interests. Global political, economic and ecological changes have a direct impact on the quality of life inside Switzerland’s borders.

Switzerland cannot alone solve the problem of poverty, but it can help alleviate it by acting in solidarity with others. This spirit of solidarity is enshrined in Art. 54 para. 2 of the Federal Constitution, which states:  “The Confederation shall ensure that the independence of Switzerland and its welfare is safeguarded; it shall in particular assist in the alleviation of need and poverty in the world and promote respect for human rights and democracy, the peaceful coexistence of peoples as well as the conservation of natural resources.”

International cooperation is an integral part of Switzerland’s foreign policy and economic foreign policy and its long-standing humanitarian tradition. 

Switzerland, a responsible actor

Switzerland benefits enormously from globalisation. For this reason, it feels called upon to accept certain responsibilities. With its success and prosperity as well as its values and the influence it enjoys at the international level comes the responsibility to make these strengths available for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals and communities.

When Switzerland acts to resolve global challenges and support less privileged countries in this task, it not only benefits these countries but all other countries including itself. In this light, international cooperation requires the responsible management of those challenges that Switzerland addresses.

In Switzerland's own interests

Switzerland’s prosperity and security depend heavily on the international environment. Armed conflicts, crises or natural disasters in other regions, for example, have repercussions for Switzerland through weakening the global economy and negatively impacting companies’ value chains, increasing migratory pressures, or endangering Switzerland’s access to natural resources.

Switzerland therefore has a strategic interest in peace and prosperity in other regions because this reduces forced migration and related challenges, while enabling it to benefit from the advantages of regular migration. For Swiss companies, which are largely export oriented, future markets are not only to be found in the industrialised countries but increasingly in the developing economies of Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.  Some of the natural resources on which Swiss companies depend are also to be found in these countries.